Editorial: Are Schools Doing their Jobs Post Pandemic?

Drawing+of+a+frustrated+high+school+student+trying+to+take+a+math+test.

Illustration by Artist Alessandra Soria

Drawing of a frustrated high school student trying to take a math test.

After more than a year of distance learning, schools K-12 are fully reopening, and students are more frustrated than ever. The cause of this; the American school system, 8 hours a day, 6 classes, 7 days a week.

As of March 2020, most schools transitioned to virtual learning, a new and difficult concept for all teachers and students. It transformed the meaning of school. After many years of having a teacher physically present, there was something odd/unrelasitic about someone behind a screen. The option of attending class fell into the student’s hands, literally. With their laptops in front of them and the power button at their fingertips. It was a convenience for students who lacked motivation and an obstacle for those with chaotic lives.  

The pandemic changed schools, it changed lives, and it also changed the way of learning. The post-pandemic educational system deserves a change as well. There is a lack of focus on students’ mental health in schools, and while counselors do exist, that just is not enough. Many adolescents at a young age find it difficult to seek help or ask for advice. School districts throughout the entire country should implement mental health campaigns and free therapy groups. Instead of leaving it to students to look for help, staff members should seek out to them. 

Finding motivation was difficult for all Americans during the pandemic. According to the CDC “, 120,000 children lost a family member due to COVID-19.”Aside from school, there were other worries and priorities, including finding a way to survive physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

As Oct. comes around the corner,test scores and grades are lower than ever. The NWEA projected, “Students would return in the fall with 70 percent of the learning gains in reading and less than 50 percent of the gains in math compared with a typical school year.”  Students officially lost a year and a half of learning; is it possible to get it back? A student attending Los Altos High School in Hacienda Heights, Calif., states, “In my Math 1 Honors class, the class average is a D+, even if it’s an honors class, that’s never happened before.” Another student said, “In my English class, no one ever wants to participate at all.” 

There is a disconnection between students and their education. While grades are plummeting, there is a significant rise in depression rates. According to the  American Academy of Pediatrics, “The percentage of adolescents screening positive for depressive symptoms increased from 5.0 percent to 6.2 percent.” 

These numbers are from students, children, and adolescents whose lives are just beginning. When issues like depression and anxiety begin to play a large role in their lives, there should be questions on what schools should be doing to help. Mainly because this is where the majority of their day is spent; it is their community. Students can bounce back, but they cannot do it on their own.

 

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